Why Are Seniors More Likely to Experience Malnutrition?

Malnutrition Awareness Week took place on Oct. 5 to 9, so this is a great time of year to shine a spotlight on senior malnutrition. Seniors are often disproportionately affected by malnutrition. Why is that? Here are a few of the reasons:

1. Seniors often experience a loss of appetite due to a slowing metabolism.

2. Food may taste different, leading seniors to eat less.

3. Older adults may have a limited ability to chew or swallow.

4. The use of various medications may affect appetite, diet, and nutrition.

5. They skip meals. One in four adults over age 65 reduces the size of the meals they eat or skips meals, according to the National Council on Aging.

6. Seniors on a limited income may buy less food to save money.

Here are a few surprising facts about seniors and malnutrition:

  • As many as 1 in 2 adults age 65 and older may be malnourished or at risk for malnourishment, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • During a hospital stay, up to 31% of malnourished patients and 38% of well-nourished patients experience nutritional decline during a hospital stay.
  • Adults who are malnourished are five times more likely to die when hospitalized and 54% more likely to be readmitted to the hospital, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Signs of malnutrition in older adults (or adults of any age) include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Feeling depressed or irritated.
  • Experiencing more illness or infection.
  • A lower appetite.
  • Muscle weakness.

If you suspect that a senior who you care for is malnourished, talk to their health provider as well as a registered dietitian nutritionist. Health professionals can help evaluate if the senior in your life is malnourished and help guide you on the right foods to feed them and help build back their strength. Senior malnourishment usually requires consistent monitoring of what your senior loved one eats as well as weight monitoring and encouraging physical activity.

Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Care Management

At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at www.secureaging.com.

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